November 22, 2013 - Kunsthalle Zürich - Lutz Bacher
November 22, 2013

Lutz Bacher

Lutz Bacher, Baby Mirror, 2012. Framed pigment print. Courtesy the artist, Galerie Buchholz, Köln / Berlin & Greene Naftali Gallery, New York.

Lutz Bacher
23 November 2013–2 February 2014

Opening: 22 November, 6–9pm

Kunsthalle Zürich 
Limmatstrasse 270
8005 Zurich

T +41 (0)44 272 15 15 
F +41 (0)44 272 18 88
info [​at​] 

Lutz Bacher (lives and works in New York) has been questioning the medialisation and commercialisation of individual life choices and models of sexual and social identity since the early 1970s through the alienation and deconstruction of their familiar manifestations. Accordingly, since the beginning of her career as an artist, she has concealed her true identity behind a misleading and deceptive male pseudonym and rarely appears in person on the art scene. With SNOW, Kunsthalle Zürich presents an exhibition, in which the artist incorporates an overview of her work from the 1970s to the present day into the ensemble of an installation created specially for the exhibition.

Lutz Bacher’s oeuvre evades all attempts at categorization or typological definition and instead provides extensive scope for wide-ranging interpretations. With her photographic works, sculptural ensembles, video works and installations, she challenges supposedly familiar images that have become established in the collective understanding. Through innovations, distortions, fragmentations, alienations and abstractions, she enables images and objects to interact in a new way and hence enables us to experience the collapse and contradiction of our societal conventions and the medial fictions associated with them. 

Bacher consistently avails of popular sources—including dubious sex manuals, pulp fiction, gossip columns and self-help books—and appropriates paparazzi photos. The found combinations of images and texts and the possible interpretations and irritations generated by such relations play an important role in her appropriation strategy. In The Lee Harvey Oswald Interview (1976) she collages photocopied photographs of the John F. Kennedy’s putative assassin with a question-and-answer interview. The conversation, which the artist has with herself under the name of the assassin, does not focus on Oswald or the mythologisation of American conspiracy theories, as the title of the work would suggest, but explores instead the medium of photography, history and the impossibility of finding truth in an image or text. 

Through the appropriation of pornographic images of the female body, Bacher assumes a traditionally male position and hence raises the question as to what happens when a woman assumes this position of the viewer and why this perspective is often seen as taboo. The work Sex With Strangers (1986) shows explicit images of sexual acts—which are often hard-core and violent. The enlarged photocopies with accompanying captions of pages from a paperback book reproduce pseudo-sociological platitudes in a way that resembles a scientific study on rape. 

Lutz Bacher not only includes images and texts into her works, she also uses found objects from the graveyards of collective obsessions sourced in charity shops and the overflowing surplus stores of the consumer world. The artist adds a kind of physical or and in a metaphorical sense psychological damage to these objects, which range between readymades and objets trouvés, and thereby reveals the ruins of our identities, role allocations, collective patterns of behaviour and desires in both conceptually compelling and narratively accessible but always misleading works and environments. 

The artist’s presentation at Kunsthalle Zürich, which is organised as an overview exhibition, is the last of three individual shows based on different formats and approaches which Bacher presented in Europe in 2013: the artist presented works at the Portikus in Frankfurt am Main in spring and in late summer at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. A joint catalogue for the three exhibitions, which presents the full inventory of her oeuvre in the form of an artist book, is being published for the opening in Zurich.

A catalogue titled Lutz Bacher. SNOW is published by JRP|Ringier Kunstverlag with an essay by Caoimhín Mac Giolla Léith, 353 pages.

Reality Check—Talks and Encounters at Kunsthalle Zürich:
Reality Check #5/ Appropriation and Riot: Thursday, 12 December, 6:30pm
Reality Check #6/ Between Private and Public Identity: Thursday, 16 January, 6:30pm

Family workshops:
Sunday, 8 December, 5 January, 19 January, 1:30–3pm (Brigit Meier, Museum Educator)

The press release for the exhibition can be downloaded here.

For further information, please contact our website.

Kunsthalle Zürich is regularly supported by Stadt Zürich Kultur, Direktion der Justiz und des Inneren des Kantons Zürich as well as Zürcher Kantonalbank (Partner of Kunsthalle Zürich), Luma Foundation, Evelyn Lingg, Hulda and Gustav Zumsteg Foundation, Bloomberg L.P. and Ringier AG.


Lutz Bacher at Kunsthalle Zürich
Kunsthalle Zürich
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